Beneath the Surface: Uncovering Heavy Metal Contamination in Public Drinking Well Water and the Public Health Implications in Kaduna South LGA, Nigeria
Keywords:Cancer risk, Heavy metal, Hazard quotient, Health risk, Public health, Water quality
Unsafe drinking water has emerged as a critical global public and environmental health concern, particularly in underdeveloped nations. Evidence indicates that unsafe water sources are responsible for approximately 1.2 million deaths annually, most of which are the result of heavy metal (HM) contamination, which poses a severe threat to public health. This study explored selected HM contamination and the likely non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic health risks to the consumers of public drinking well water sources in Kaduna South LGA, Nigeria. Atomic absorption Spectroscopy was adopted for HM analysis, and potential health risks were evaluated using the established Human Health Risk Exposure Assessment Indices. The findings indicated an unsafe quantity of HMs, with the mean concentration above the recommended limit prescribed by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (2007) and the World Health Organization (2011) for most HMs in the order; Zn (33.523) > Mn (2.805) > Pb (0.793) > Cr (0.05), as well as a substantial non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic health risk for adults and children with the Hazard Index and Cancer Risk values above the recommended standards. The findings will prove useful to public health authorities in developing evidence-based monitoring and active interventions tot facilitate the delivery of safe drinking water to the local population.
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